Facebook Moves In On Google Territory With Dynamic Ads For Flights

Online travel ads are big business and Google has had more than its fair share of the pie. Now Facebook is looking to get a slice of the action by introducing its own series of Dynamic Ads for flight tickets.

This new program will give airlines the ability to retarget prospects across Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook’s Audience Network. Targeted ads will be derived from browsing behavior from multiple sources of data, including data imported from the advertiser’s own sources such as their websites or apps.

Facebook has already ventured into Dynamic Ads for other travel offers like hotel and destination bookings, but the addition of flights makes the platform even more powerful. 

According to eMarketer, the travel industry has pumped in nearly $6 billion in 2016 on advertising in the United States. Online travel sales are expected to reach a huge $755 billion by 2019. This is a lot of money that Facebook does not want to pass on.

In just the last year, Google Flights has accrued at least $12 billion in travel advertisements. Facebook wants to leverage their social aspect to target friends and family who discuss their upcoming vacation plans in the hopes of taking a bite out of that revenue.

Dynamic Ads is expected to be extremely effective as it will target prospects that are nearly ready to buy in their purchasing journey. According to a GfK study conducted for Facebook last year, 85% of travel is planned on a mobile device. This is a territory where Facebook has a strong hold. 

“People come to us every day to discover and talk about what matters to them,” Christine Warner says, the US industry head for Facebook’s travel sector. ““And then Dynamic Ads for travel capture people when they express interest in your brand with clear intent about where they want to go.”

Facebook has brought in a few companies to test the beta version, including airline company Delta. Cathay Pacific has seen a huge rise in their number of online bookings and has been able to reduce the cost of their booking acquisitions by 15%.

At this time, advertisers can only use static images and image carousels for their ads, but they are expected to add video in the near future. 

Displaying ads in a dynamic ad format is a difficult task. Advertisements need to balance a variety of factors including modified origins and destinations, as well as the current price of flights, which are fluctuating on a continual basis.

This is being addressed by allowing airlines to select prices based on specific time frames or by targeting users based on the activity of their previous searches. 

It is still unclear where advertisers are getting the best results, but it is expected that as more data rolls in, the performance of Facebook, Instagram, and the Audience Network will become more apparent. However, it is assumed that Facebook and Instagram will outperform the Audience Network based on previous native ad experiences.